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Gadkari too in image makeover mode

delhi Updated: Sep 26, 2011 02:32 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
Shekhar Iyer

As the race for the Prime Minister’s post hots up within the BJP after the fast undertaken by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and yet another yatra by LK Advani, party chief Nitin Gadkari too is ensuring that he is not left far behind.

Fifty-year-old Gadkari, who went under the surgeon’s knife to reduce weight and fight obesity a few days ago, is organising a mega event here on October 8 to release a collection of his speeches and show he’s best bet when it comes to “politics for development.”

Several BJP chief ministers and top BJP leaders are to grace the event, which will be presided over by Advani and attended by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and RSS’ points-man for BJP affairs Suresh Sonia.

Titled Vikas Ke Path (Path of Development), the compilation comprises select 24 speeches he had delivered as a Maharashtra minister and later in other capacities including his present role as BJP president.

With Modi trying to showcase ‘Gujarat model’ and Advani focusing on clean politics, Gadkari intends to remind his party men and others about his performance as Maharashtra PWD minister (1995-99) when he was best known for constructing a series of roads, highways and flyovers across the state including the Yeshwantrao Chavan Mumbai–Pune Expressway.

Gadkari’s term as BJP chief ends in February 2013. He has already made up his mind to contest the next Lok Sabha polls, preferably from Nagpur, which is his hometown.

“There’s no significance in the timing,” said Ravindra Dhani, political editor of Tarun Bharat—a RSS-affiliated publication—who edited the book.

“The event was planned long ago. Right from the day one, Gadkari has been emphasising on politics for development. That was the thrust of his address at Indore in February 2010 when he took over as BJP president.”

When Gadkari became BJP chief after Advani stepped down following the 2009 poll debacle, he had said, “I am not here for pure politics and politics must aid development.”

Interestingly, one of the speeches included in the compilation addresses the issue of welfare of minorities and talks about how successive governments failed to do anything concrete for them.

Well-known environmentalist and former union minister Mohan Dharia, who is Gadkari’s mentor, has written a foreword for the compilation. The compilation is to be translated into other languages, including English, Hindi and Marathi. Gadkari plans to release the English version in Mumbai and the Marathi version in Nagpur.